Student Workers Gain Customer Service Experience through Bus Cafe Opening

By: Savanna Schrage

Knox County High School held the Grand Opening of the Bus Cafe on September 27th. Students, Isaac McCurren, Conner Melendez, Joey Davis, Hannah Green, Branson Miller, and Dylan Powers currently work in the cafe.  The cafe is not only providing these students with a paying job, but also the opportunity to gain skills they can transfer to their future. The students are paid $10.30 an hour which is paid to them as a monthly paycheck. A typical morning consists of coming in at 7:15 a.m. and the goal is to stop taking orders by 8:10 a.m. However, most of the time they have orders they have to finish first which can sometimes take until 8:30 a.m. Currently, all of the students come into work each day, but they are working toward having a monthly schedule and hiring more students. 

When students first arrive they will wash their hands and put their gloves and apron on. Then they all get into their position for the day. There are five different stages of the coffee-making process. The first job is the person who takes orders from the customers at the window. The next step is the person who puts the syrup flavorings into the cups. Then there are one or two people making the coffee and frothing the milk. The last person then puts on the whipped cream, lids, and sleeves. This person also delivers the final product to the customer out the other window. Sometimes one of the two people making the coffee will help deliver coffee to staff and teachers inside the school building as well. 

Student worker, Dylans Powers says that he has really enjoyed his experience so far. "I like learning how to make coffee because I find it super interesting," shared  Powers. "It also has been very beneficial by helping me learn life skills."

Depending on the day it typically takes about five minutes to get your coffee. Students say the "Branson Special" is their favorite along with the Turtle coffee. The menu currently includes drip coffee, iced coffee, and specialty drinks such as a Vanilla latte or Fall in a Cup (pumpkin and chai). Each drink can also be customized and costs $2 a cup. These options and all updates can be seen on the KCHS School Bus Facebook page. 

The KCHS School Bus Cafe was a dream that took many collaborative efforts to make come true. In 2019, Mrs. Wreidt and her Entrepreneurship class were looking for ways to improve the school. They came up with an idea to turn the Print Shop classroom into a retail space or a cafe. This was asking to have a hole cut in the wall, which superintendent, Mr. Turgeon wasn't sure about. Then Knox County received a grant for an electric bus, and this meant that the school had to remove a diesel bus from the road. The school board asked if there was anything Mr. Green's class could do with the bus. This sparked a thought and Mr. Turgeon took the idea to Mr. Green and Mrs. Wreidt to discuss. With this collaboration and lots of hard work by many throughout the school district, the KCHS Bus Cafe came to life. The bus hour is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and is also open to the public.